Intel Unveils High Powered Processors
- By Rutrell Yasin
- March 30, 2010
Intel today launched the Xeon 7500 processor series, the company's fastest enterprise and high-performance computing processor to date.
The 7500 series is designed for mission-critical workloads that cannot afford unscheduled downtime such as hospitals or stock exchanges. Moreover, the 7500 series meets the growing trend of IT organizations virtualizing large workloads for applications such as Enterprise Resource Planning, Intel officials said.
The Intel Xeon processor 7500 series supports up to eight integrated cores and 16 threads, and can scale up to 32 cores and 64 threads per 4-chip platform or 64 cores and 128 threads per 8-chip platform. The 7500 is available with frequencies up to 2.66 GHz, 24 MB of Intel Smart Cache memory, four Intel QPI links and Intel Turbo Boost technology.
On March 29, Advanced Micro Devices announced a 12-core processor.
The new Intel Xeon processors can be expanded to include from two to 256 chips per server and have an average performance three times that of Intel's existing Xeon 7400 series, Intel officials said.
Additionally, the processors come equipped with 20 new reliability features.
Using Xeon 7500 series processors, IT managers can consolidate up to 20 older single-core, 4-chip servers onto a single server while maintaining the same level of performance, Kirk Skaugen, vice president of the Intel architecture group and general manager of Intel's data center group, said during a webcast presentation.
"The Xeon 7500 brings mission critical capabilities to the mainstream by delivering the most significant leap in performance, scalability and reliability ever seen from Intel," Skaugen said.
For example, this is the first Xeon processor to possess Machine Check Architecture Recovery, a feature that allows the silicon to work with the operating system and virtual machine manager to recover from otherwise fatal system errors. This technology was previously available only in the company's Intel Itanium processor family and RISC processors.
Additionally, The Intel Xeon processor 7500 series offers modular building blocks enabled by Intel QuickPath Technology (QPI) interconnect. With QPI, eight-processor servers that don't require specialized third-party node controller chips to glue the system together can be built.
Intel is also working with system vendors to deliver ultra-scale systems with 16 processors for the enterprise, and up to 256 processors and support for 16 terabytes of memory for high- performance computing super nodes that run bandwidth-demanding applications such as financial analysis, numerical weather predictions and genome sequencing.
Until now, Intel has not participated in super nodes in the high performance computing space, Skaugen said.
The 7500 series is also tuned for large-scale virtualization, he noted.
With up to eight times the memory bandwidth of the Intel Xeon processor 7400 series and four times the memory capacity with 16 memory slots per processor, the Xeon 7500 series can support one terabyte of memory in a four-socket platform.
Intel Virtualization Technologies, which include new I/O virtualization capabilities and Intel Virtualization Technology FlexMigration, allow for live virtual machine migration across all Intel CoreTM microarchitecture-based platforms. This can help administrators that need to use pools of virtualized systems for failover, disaster recovery, load balancing and optimal server maintenance and downtime, Skaugen said.
The 7500 series culminates the transition to Intel's Nehalem chip design, Skaugen noted. In less than 90 days, Intel has introduced all-new 2010 PC, laptop and server processors that increase energy efficiency and computing speed and include a multitude of new, he said.
Enterprise software vendors expected to support Intel Xeon processor 7500-based platforms, include Citrix, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, Red Hat, SAP AG and VMware.
Rutrell Yasin is the senior technology editor of Government Computer News (GCN.com).